Determined Edwards left with a touch of jealousy when watching Leicester and Ipswich celebrations

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Luton chief wants to mastermind an immediate return to the top flight

A determined Town boss Rob Edwards admitted to feeling a few pangs of jealousy when watching the likes of Leicester City and Ipswich Town celebrate promotion to a Premier League that he desperately wants to be part of again with Luton.

The Hatters saw their realistic hopes of facing the Foxes and Tractor Boys next term ended last weekend with a 3-1 defeat against West Ham United, as it now means they need to beat Fulham tomorrow and claw back a 12-goal advantage on fourth bottom Nottingham Forest, who just need a point at Burnley to render Town’s efforts meaningless.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While Luton were going through their own crushing disappointment at the London Stadium a week ago, the two promoted sides have been enjoying seeing the fruits of their labour pay off handsomely, as they will take their place at the top table of English football once more. The scenes of jubilation were something that Edwards was left watching on somewhat enviously following a debut campaign managing in the top flight, it has clearly whetted his appetite to return as soon as possible.

Hatters boss Rob Edwards - pic: Liam SmithHatters boss Rob Edwards - pic: Liam Smith
Hatters boss Rob Edwards - pic: Liam Smith

Speaking to the press yesterday, he said: “There’s times where I’m almost grieving and going through some disappointment, but there's time when I look at it and think right, let’s go. I felt like that immediately after the game when I saw our supporters doing what they did. Then at times, I see Ipswich or Leicester celebrating and I think, I want that to be us next year. So that has got to be our goal. We know that’s really difficult, but the fire’s certainly burning.

"I feel comfortable at this level and so do the staff and a lot of the players as well. That’s really pleased me. It’s given us a lot of belief and confidence, but ultimately we’ve just fallen short and what it’s told me is I’m a little bit jealous of the people that are going to be here next year. I’m hungry to get back. We try to take inspiration from our own celebration not too long ago.

"We see Ipswich doing it, we see Leicester doing it, whoever wins the play-offs, that’s got to fuel our fire. We’ve got to dream again and try our best to get there as there's been nothing better in my whole life than this year and trying to go up against the best. Like everyone, I’m ambitious, like everyone at the football club, we want to win, we want to be going up against the best. It’s a big, big challenge ahead, but one that we’ll really look forward to and relish and we’re desperate to get back here of course we are.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although Leicester, who were actually crowned Premier League champions back in 2016, will be well backed at this level, Ipswich haven’t been in the division since the 2001-02 season, and like Luton were, will no doubt be heavily tipped to finish bottom of the pile before a ball has been kicked. The pair will also be joined by one of Leeds or Southampton, the pair meeting in the play-off final at Wembley next Sunday.

With Luton, Sheffield United and Burnley the three teams who went up last term all coming straight back down again, it demonstrates just how tough the challenge now is for any of the sides who reach the top to stay there for any length of time. Edwards knows it isn’t an ideal situation for the pyramid, adding: “I think that’s obvious, you can see that there is a huge gap there.

"It is disappointing as I don’t think anyone wants that. We all want competition and we’ve all given our best, but just come up short. It is a big, big jump, there’s no doubt about it. Every team we’ve come up against have got some players that could play in the top four, five, six teams, and they do, they spend big money. It’s not all about that though, it's about having a good plan and we’re never going to change or deviate from what we do, but we’re coming up against some big muscle and it is a big jump.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.